My first understanding of the power of a designer/writer collaboration was working with Lisa Guillot. Lisa is the owner and creative director of Step Brightly Creative Group, a boutique graphic design and web design studio with clients from coast to coast because of their reputation in everything from lifestyle branding to professional service branding. We are also two of the three co-founders of Forth Chicago, a salon-inspired, seasonal event. Lisa called me up before 2013 started and said she wanted to collaborate on intimate gatherings of creative women. It’s ideas like that, creating time and space for good ideas, that makes Lisa great to work with and just generally great.
Lisa has one son who is almost 3 and a little girl on the way in late July. She’s also a step-mom to two fantastically energetic and kind boys. Her house? It’s bustling (and beautiful). Design work is for Monday, Wednesday and Friday and she keeps Tuesday and Thursday open for playtime with Julien. Like many of us, she works through his naps and has email and other social media on at all times and laments feeling the need to be always connected. Her son is at an in-home daycare about a mile from her house when she works. He starts preschool next year which is very exciting for both Mama and him…but Lisa’s betting she’ll be the one to cry the first day.
Here’s what Lisa had to say about being a SpitfireMom.
How does being a mom influence your work?
I have learned to be more patient with myself. In business I get things done on my schedule. With a child, it’s on his time. Trying to get my son out of the bath? At least a 5 minute ordeal. Breathe Lisa, breathe!
Because scheduling is so tight with kids, I have become super aware of my time and other people’s time. Scheduling time when you have a child, or 2 or 3 is a daily challenge. A dead give-away that I am from the Midwest: I am rarely late, typically early, and above all try not to cancel. It’s rude and selfish of other people’s time.
Do you talk about your kids with clients or potential clients?
I am lucky because most of my clients become my friends because we have kids. And I am 30 weeks pregnant, so it makes it difficult not to talk about kids when I am growing one in my belly.
We know a SpitfireMom like Jennifer has tips to share, so we asked for her best time saving trick:
List-making and clear communication with clients. It doesn’t sound revolutionary, but it helps millions with so much going on. I have a weekly planner with hand-drawn checkboxes so I know when something is complete or needs to be done. For a ‘creative-type’ this way of highly organized thinking is crucial to meeting deadlines.
What’s one thing you haven’t figured out?
I haven’t figured out how to go to the dentist. I understand the process: find a dentist in my plan, look them up, call and make an appointment, but this has been on my to-do list forever. This is probably a reflection of not taking care or time for myself when there is so much to be done for others. Like today for example, I have two phone interviews with potential interns, a client meeting, a file due to the printer, four pick-ups and drop offs with the kids, two house guests coming and zero food in the house for dinner or breakfast. It’s Friday, gimme a break. Like my mom always said when I was growing up, “You gotta work with what you got.”
Ed. note: By chance, I mentioned to Lisa that I was going to go to my dentist, who I adore and is magically near Lisa’s house and next door to a phenomenal pedicure place. Lisa says: “The universe must be working in my favor. I knew, ‘This is it! This is my moment to make a dentist appointment.'” SpitfireMoms to the rescue!
And, if you’re a mom entrepreneur and just found out your expecting, Lisa says:
Everything is temporary.The sleepless nights don’t last forever, you will be able to think straight sometime in the near future. You will put on a nice outfit and go on a date in the future. Life is not over just because you have a newborn.
My biggest lesson was to learn patience for myself. I had to stop and take a breath before acting. You are the center of your little one’s world and you have the power to make that a happy or sad place. I want to stay in a happy place with my happy son and daughter.
Lisa, we can’t wait to hear about the little lady! I love partnering with Lisa because of that unique and masterful blend of creativity and organization. I also love that in the years I’ve work with her I’ve never seen her flapped. She’s unflappable. And that, my friends, is why she’s a SpitfireMom.
Julie & Heidi
Know a fabulous, creative mompreneur? We want to hear about her (or YOU)!